Northern California Record

Monday, November 18, 2019

Judge denies plaintiffs' motion to remand Song-Beverly Act lawsuit against Ford


By Payton Kuhn | May 26, 2019


SACRAMENTO – A judge in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California has denied a motion to remand a lawsuit regarding a claimed violation of California law against the Ford Motor Co., thus keeping the lawsuit within federal jurisdiction.

In the official ruling published on May 6, Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill concluded that the suit filed by Paul Cortez Martinez and Estella Martinez would not be remanded to state court due to the expected reimbursement charges being in excess of the jurisdictional threshold of $75,000.

The plaintiffs had argued that Ford’s calculations of the expected reimbursement costs were inflated to avoid a remanded trial. However, O’Neill found that the offset used by the defendant to calculate the total led to a reasonable and non-speculative estimate. The judge decided that the amount of damages placed “into controversy” is roughly $25,115.

That amount, then doubled under accordance with the Song-Beverly Act, and then including attorneys’ fees which the plaintiffs had also requested led to a final amount in controversy to be roughly at least $90,346, which exceeds the state law’s limit of $75,000, the ruling states.

The suit was originally filed in October 2018 in Kern County Superior Court. The plaintiffs alleged that Ford violated multiple facets under the California Song-Beverly Act regarding their purchase of a used 2010 Ford Escape, which they claim was delivered to them with multiple engine and transmission defects. They had argued that Ford “failed to either promptly replace the used motor vehicle or make restitution in accordance with the Song-Beverly Act,” the suit states.

Among the claims listed in the suit under the Song-Beverly Act include a breach of implied warranty and a breach of express warranty.

Ford moved to remand the complaint to the federal court in November 2018.

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